Hyundai Kona EV recalled in Korea after suspected battery flaw causes fires

SEOUL — Hyundai will voluntarily recall Kona full-electric vehicles because a possible short circuit due to faulty manufacturing of its high-voltage battery cells could pose a fire risk.

The recall involves 25,564 Kona EVs built between September 2017 and March 2020, South Korea’s transport ministry said on Thursday.

It starts on Oct. 16 and  includes software updates and battery replacements after inspections.

In total, 13 incidents of fire involving the Kona EV, including one each in Canada and Austria, were documented so far, according to a statement by ruling party lawmaker Jang Kyung-tae’s office on Thursday.

The safety recall “is a proactive response to a suspected defective production of high-voltage batteries used in the vehicles, which may have contributed to the reported fires,” Hyundai said.

The automaker said it will deploy all necessary measures to identify the cause of the fires and address customers’ needs.

Kona EVs use batteries made by LG Chem.

LG Chem said the exact cause of the fire had not been determined and a reenactment experiment conducted jointly with Hyundai had not led to a fire, so the fires could not be attributed to faulty battery cells.

LG Chem added that it will participate in a future investigation with Hyundai to find the cause.

In July, Hyundai Motor leader Euisun Chung said Hyundai and sister company Kia aim to sell 1 million full-electric vehicles in 2025, targeting more than 10 percent of the global market share for such vehicles.

The Kona is Hyundai brand’s best-selling model in Europe. Kona sales in the region rose 1.9 percent to 70,380 in the first eight months, including combustion engine versions, according to JATO Dynamics market researchers.


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